Students at the University of Sydney

Students in the early years

This webpage provides brief information about the beginnings / establishment of the Faculty of Engineering, and photos of its early students and graduates.

View more information and photos about early women Engineering students.

On this webpage:


Click on images for enlargement.


FACULTY OF ENGINEERING 1920 (now Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies)

Milestones

1883:  Three four-year Diplomas in Engineering were introduced in the Department of Engineering within the newly created Faculty of Science.
  Following compulsory Arts I, the first Engineering II classes were held in 1883 and attended by 3 matriculated students: Edward Merewether, Phillip Rygate and Ebenezer Wood, and 7 non-matriculated students: Edwin Booth, Ernest Burman, Edward and William Cowdery, Harry Moriarty, Richard Richards and George Stonier.
  However the room in the Main Building was much too small to contain the apparatus for illustrating lectures.
1884: Senate approved a three-year Bachelor of Engineering degree to replace the Diplomas, and appointed William Henry Warren as a Professor.
1885: Engineering classes moved to a temporary building in Science Road on a site now partly occupied by the Holme Building.
  The first Bachelor of Engineering graduates were Edward Merewether, Phillip Rygate and Ebenezer Wood.
1892: James Vickers became the first Master of Engineering graduate.
  The School of Mines was established.
1895: Classes began in the new School of Mines Building (now the Old Geology Building), near to the Engineering Building in Science Road.
1896: Sir Peter Nicol Russell donated £50,000 for the endowment of the Department of Engineering.
1904: Sir Peter Nicol Russell  donated a second sum of £50,000, with an additional obligation for the establishment of efficient teaching in electrical engineering and for the foundation of additional scholarships.
1909: The new Peter Nicol Russell School of Engineering (now the Woolley building) was formally opened on 20 September by the Governor, Lord Chelmsford.
1910: The original Engineering building was demolished. In its place, the new building for the University Union was opened in 1913.
1920: The Faculty of Engineering was established by Senate.
1924: John Bradfield was awarded the first Doctor of Science in Engineering.
1948: Margaret Angas, who had been admitted in 1946, was the first woman student to graduate in Engineering - with a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering.
1951: William Wittrick MA Camb was the first PhD graduate in Engineering at the University in the year that the first PhDs were awarded at the University – the other 2 were in Science.
1960s/
1970s:
With the expansion in student numbers in the 1950s and early 1960s, new facilities for Engineering were constructed in the Darlington area across City Road.
1975: By then, the entire Engineering faculty had been relocated to new premises in Darlington.
2007: The School of Information Technology, which had moved into its new building in 2006, moved from the Faculty of Science to the Faculty of Engineering, with the Faculty being renamed the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
2012: There were 1,050 women and 3,805 men enrolled in the Faculty as at 31 March.
  The Faculty comprises the Schools of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering; Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Civil Engineering; Electrical and Information Engineering; and Information Technologies.

Gallery

In the 1880s
The first Engineering building in Science Road was built in 1885

View of the first Engineering building in Science Road which was built in 1885. On the right can be seen the School of Mines Building which opened in 1895, photo G3_224_0213 taken in 1908, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1890s
Professor W H Warren and first year Engineering students in 1892

The first Professor of Engineering Professor W H Warren and first year Engineering students in 1892, photo G3_224_0859, University of Sydney Archives.

1899

University of Sydney Engineering student Phillip Caro, a distinguished amateur photographer, displayed some examples of coloured photographs at a meeting of the Royal Society of NSW in late 1899, photo, Australian Town and Country Journal, 19 August 1899, National Library of Australia. The process had only just been perfected. Caro graduated BE in Mining & Metallurgy in 1904.

In the early 1900s
The School of Mines Building in 1901

View of the School of Mines Building which opened in 1895, photo, Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 October 1901, National Library of Australia.

The Lecture Room in the School of Mines in 1901

The Lecture Room in the School of Mines, photo, Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 October 1901, National Library of Australia.

The Machinery Room in the School of Mines in 1901

The Machinery Room in the School of Mines, photo, Australian Town and Country Journal, 28 September 1901, National Library of Australia.

The Chemical laboratory in the School of Mines in 1901

The Chemical laboratory in the School of Mines, photo, Australian Town and Country Journal, 28 September 1901, National Library of Australia.

The workshop in the School of Mines in 1901

The workshop in the School of Mines, photo, Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 October 1901, National Library of Australia.

Professor W H Warren and Engineering students in the 1890s

Professor W H Warren and Engineering students in the 1890s, photo from 'The Gazette', February 1981.

A group of Engineering students in 1907

A group of Engineering students in 1907, photo G3_224_0003, University of Sydney Archives.

Engineering students float in 1907 - Shackletons expedition

Engineering students' float 'Shackleton's expedition' in 1907, in front of the Engineering School, photo G3_224_1884, University of Sydney Archives.

The School of Mines practical classroom in 1910

The School of Mines practical classroom in 1910, photo G3_224_MF374_0232, University of Sydney Archives.

The Engineering School (left) and the School of Mines (right) in 1910

The Engineering School (left) and the School of Mines (right) in 1910, after Engineering classes had moved out, photo G3_224_MF374_0235, University of Sydney Archives.

The Peter Nicol Russell School of Engineering in 1910 (now Woolley Building)

The P N Russell Engineering School (now Woolley Building), which opened in 1909, 1910 photo G3_224_MF374_0188, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1910s

Demolition of the old Engineering building in Science Road in 1910

Demolition of the old Engineering building in Science Road in 1910, to make way for the new building for the University Union was opened in 1913, with the Great Hall in the background, photo G3_224_MF374_0254 by Gooch, University of Sydney Archives.

Arthur Gordon McRae

Arthur McRae, 1903 Bachelor of Engineering graduate, who died in the Titanic disaster in 1912, photo from the Gazette, April 2003.

1919

The Engineering Building and students in 1919, photo, The Australasian, 9 August 1919, National Library of Australia.

In the 1920s
14th Annual Dinner of PNR School of Engineering in 1921

The fourteenth Annual Dinner of PNR School of Engineering, 5 August 1921, photo G3_224_1812, University of Sydney Archives.

John Bradfield was awarded the first Doctorate of Science in Engineering in 1924.

John Bradfield was awarded the first Doctorate of Science in Engineering in 1924, photo, State Library of NSW, digital order no d1_15872.

1925

Five Sydney Engineering students, who had entered on a training course of four months at the Point Cook aerodrome in Victoria as pilots for the Citizens' Air Force, watching the fluctuations of the wind recorder when training was interrupted by high winds in 1925, photo, The Argus, 19 December 1925, National Library of Australia.

Students in the Engineering Laboratory in the Russell Building in 1926

Students in the Engineering Laboratory in the Russell Building in 1926, G3_224_0911, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

Students and equipment in the Engineering School in 1927, photo P183_1_0293 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

Equipment in the Engineering School in 1927, photo P183_1_0122 by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

University students act as voluntary labourers and assist the University 75th anniversary appeal – 'Engineering students transform a wilderness at the University', raising a flower bed at the entrance to the P N Russell Engineering School (now Woolley Building), photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August 1927, National Library of Australia.

1927 or 1928

Mechanical Engineering Students in 1927 or 1928, photo G3_224_2805, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1930s
1930

The first SRC President – in 1930 – was James Murray Gosper, Civil Engineering III, photo G3_224_0159, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1940s
1941

The P N Russell Building (now Woolley) in 1941, photo G3_224_2685 by Max Dupain, University of Sydney Archives.

1942

The P N Russell Building (now Woolley) in 1942, photo, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: hood_23613.

Aeronautical engineering lecture theatre, 1942

Aeronautical engineering lecture theatre, 1942, photo, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: hood_23619.

Aeronautical engineering laboratories, 1942

Aeronautical engineering laboratories, 1942, photo, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: hood_23616.

Aeronautical engineering laboratories, 1942

Aeronautical engineering laboratories, 1942, photo, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: hood_23617.

A cafe in the Engineering Building (now Woolley) in 1942,

A cafe in the Engineering Building (now Woolley) in 1942, photo, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: hood_23618.

Margaret Angas - the first woman Engineering graduate, in 1948

Margaret Angas - The first woman Engineering graduate, in 1948, Margaret Angas (later Hamer) graduated Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering in 1948, the first woman Engineering graduate at the University, photo, 'The Argus, 2 March 1948.

In the 1950s
Eric Hufton 1950

Eric Hufton celebrated the 25th anniversary of his appointment to the same post that was held by his father John Hufton (1917 - 1925) and his grandfather John Hufton (1885 - 1917) before him - Attendant at the Engineering School. Eric is pictured above demonstrating an epidiascope in the department of civil engineering, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 1950, National Library of Australia.

The new Differential Analyser, 1951

The new Differential Analyser - an analogue type of computing machine - with its 8 separate units, in 1951 in a large room at the School of Engineering. It was designed by D M Myers, Professor of Electrical Engineering, in conjunction with members of the CSIRO Mathematical Instruments Section, chiefly Mr WR Blunden. Pictured above is the control board, photo, The Sunday Herald, 15 April 1951, National Library of Australia.

The Sydney University Engineering Undergraduates

Helen Jackson, Ann Bond and Pamela Thompson at the ball held on 7 July 1953 at Prince's by the Sydney University Engineering Undergraduates' Association, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 July 1953, National Library of Australia.

1954

Flying Officer Eric Stanley Barwick in the cockpit of a Vampire. He was an aeronautical engineering student at Sydney University and had just won a research fellowship at Bristol University. He was a Citizen Air Force pilot completing a sixteen-day conversion course from Mustangs to Vampire jet fighters at the RAAF station at Richmond on 23 March 1954, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 March 1954, National Library of Australia.

1954

Sydney University engineering students inspecting tunnels being driven for the Eastern Suburbs railway on 26 May 1954. The Chief Engineer of the Railways Department, Mr E McCoy, explained the workings to the students at the Domain tunnel mouth, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 1954, National Library of Australia.

In the 1960s
1960

'Bacchus' (Engineering student Eberhard Wulff) quaffing 'wine' from a horen amused Roman goddesses Kay Morgan and Diane Austin at the Art Students' annual Ball at the Trocadero in August 1960, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 17 August 1960, National Library of Australia.

Darlington, showing the Engineering buildings, 1961

Darlington, showing the Engineering buildings, in 1961, photo G3_224_0937, University of Sydney Archives.

1964

Gary Lane, a first year engineering student at Sydney University, made a "Sydney Opera House" letter-box for Mother's Day 1964. He made plans and scale drawings from an artist's impression and built the model from them, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 24 June 1964, National Library of Australia.

In the 1970s
Electrical Engineering Building

The new Electrical Engineering Building in 1973, photo, The Gazette, July 1973.

Chemical Engineering Building

The new Chemical Engineering Building in 1974, photo, The Gazette, June 1974.

Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Building

A model of the new Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Building in 1974, photo, The Gazette, June 1974.

In the 1980s
The Engineering buildings in the Darlington area in 1981

The Engineering buildings in the Darlington area in 1981, photo, The Gazette, February 1981.

Civil and Mining Engineering Design Competition 1987
Civil and Mining Engineering Design Competition 1987

Engineering students competing in the annual Civil and Mining Engineering Design Competition in 1987, where they had to devise a contraption to transport a concrete ID Card weighing 16kgs from one place to another in 45 seconds, photos, The Gazette, December 1987.

Peter Zak and Mark Peters competing in the annual Civil and Mining Engineering Design Competition

Peter Zak and Mark Peters competing in the annual Civil and Mining Engineering Design Competition in 1987, photos, University of Sydney Annual Report 1987.

Civil and Mining Engineering students applying the theory of flow through porous media 1987

Civil and Mining Engineering students applying the theory of flow through porous media in the refloating of a stranded 'whale' at Collaroy Beach in 1987, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1987.

Students at terminals for the Department of Civil and Mining Engineering

Students at terminals for the Department of Civil and Mining Engineering's Prime 9750 computer which was installed in 1987. Half the cost of the new computer came from graduates and their families, including one major donation from Mrs Margaret Rock, widow of Christopher Rock, a graduale who died in 1985 as the result of an accident, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1987.

Antonio Pacini (centre) and Robert Iacopetta 1987

Attempting to produce one millimetre of fresh drinking water in two minutes are 2nd year students Antonio Pacini (centre) and Robert Iacopetta in a Chemical Engineering Design Competition in 1987, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1987.

Engineering students watching the competition in 1987

Engineering students watching the competition in 1987, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1987.

In the 1990s

'Return of the Red Eye' was the Faculty's review in 1991. Students are pictured rehearsing in the Footbridge Theatre, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1991.

1991

The Hargrave Development Team comprised six final year students and one tutor from Aeronautical Engineering: (from left) Susan Copeland, Robert Hughes, Osvaldo Querin (team coordinator), Michael Shramko, Emma Thomas and Scott Lockey. They won the Silver Medal in the international student competition as part of Canada's Airshow and Symposium in August 1991 with a design from Lawrence Hargrave, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1991.

Today
Winners of the Water, Water, Everywhere competition, October 2005

In October 2005, 260 Engineering I students were given the challenge of creating a solar powered desalination service. The “Sydney Water” team - Da Hong Cai, Chao Chen, Xi Chen, Mohd Samhan Kambali, Christoper Peponis and Salehan Ahmed - won first-place, photo, Engineering Sydney Newsletter, March 2006.

The School of Information Technologies Building

The School of Information Technologies Building, photo, Engineering Sydney Newsletter, September 2006.

SUEUAs first year survival camp in early 2006

SUEUA's first year survival camp in early 2006, photo, Engineering Sydney Newsletter, March 2006.

First place in the 2006 Association of Consulting Engineers Australia Bridge Challenge on 11 August

A group of University of Sydney Engineering students took out first place in the 2006 Association of Consulting Engineers Australia Bridge Challenge on 11 August 2006, photo of members of the winning team collecting the prize, from Engineering Sydney Newsletter, September 2006.

Continued

Engineering at OWeek, 2009
Engineering at OWeek, 2009
Engineering at OWeek, 2009

Engineering at OWeek, 2009, photos, Engineering Sydney Newsletter, June 2009.

2010

Liquid Engineering took first prize in Horses for Watercourses competition in October 2010, photo, University of Sydney News ... more.

2012

Aeronautical engineering students in a flight simulator, July 2012

2013

A working formula racing car designed and constructed by mechanical engineering students will take centre stage at University of Sydney Open Day, photo, University of Sydney ... more.

Information sources
  • University of Sydney Calendar Archive
  • National Library of Australia historic newspapers
  • The University of Sydney Gazette
  • 'University of Sydney Architecture', by Trevor Howells
  • University Statistics Reports
  • University Annual Reports
  • The Faculty's website
  • Engineering Sydney Newsletters


Lis Bergmann, 2012